New code of practice for letting agents opens for consultation
A consultation is underway to gather opinions on a new code of practice for letting agents and the requirement for letting agents to undergo training before they can be added to a register.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces a framework for the regulation of letting agents in Scotland which includes:
- a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test;
- a training requirement that must be met to be admitted to the register;
- a statutory code of practice all letting agents must follow;
- a way for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents for breaches of the statutory Code of Practice through a new specialist First-tier Tribunal; and
- powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information and to inspect to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.
Part 1 of this consultation seeks views on a draft Letting Agent Code of Practice and, Part 2, on a proposal for the training requirement that applicants must have met to be accepted onto the Letting Agent Register.
Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed to help determine the training requirements and finalise the code of practice.
Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “The Scottish Government wants to see a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence and encourages growth.
“Letting agents are vital to helping achieve this vision, and this new framework, including the code of practice, will support the industry to improve standards, provide a good service to both landlords and tenants, and empower customers.”
Shelter Scotland welcomed the consultation on a code of practice and revealed it would be submitting a response.
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We have long campaigned to improve letting agents and for the industry to be cleaned up to protect tenants and landlords from sharp practices and cowboys. This consultation is a positive step and is good news for landlords, letting agents and tenants alike.”